Conservative economist pooh-poohs harbor deepening, tax vote

By Walter C. Jones
Morris News Service
ATLANTA – The conservative economist and columnist Walter Williams doesn't necessarily embrace two of Georgia business community's biggest goals, deepening the Savannah River and a sales tax for transportation.
Williams, long-time head of the economists department at George Mason University, said Monday that Savannah became a major port in colonial times without federal investment and so he thinks Washington should stay out of it now.
"It was a major trading port for the South. How in the world did it get there without the federal government?" he asked. "I always ask people when they say, 'We've just got to have something' what did we do before? Nobody really asks that question."
Williams regularly argues for lower taxes, and he wasn't impressed with having voters do the raising for the transportation sales tax rather than elected officials. He noted that the country's founding fathers warned against the masses using ballots to take what they want.
"You might be tapping into the public will more through a referendum than through legislation. I don't know that tapping into public will is a good thing," he said. "... Our founders had utter contempt for democracy. You don't find the term democracy anywhere in our founding documents because majority rule is just another form of tyranny."
The question is to weigh how else the money could be used to boost the economy, such as for healthcare or personal consumption, he said, adding that he wasn't prepared to provide an answer.
Williams, who frequently fills in for talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, answered questions while in town for a pair of speeches, including one sponsored by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. That organization is pushing a vote in July to raise a 1-percent sales tax to fund various transportation projects and a separate campaign to convince Washington to fund the bulk of deepening the shipping channel in the Savannah River. Chamber officials say both initiatives are needed to revive the state's economy.
Georgia's pace of job creation is at the level of 10 years ago, according to Sam Williams, president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, another champion of both causes.
"We've been known as Hotlanta," said Sam Williams, no relation to the economist. "Our heat is dying out."


More Local

Sound Off

Make it simple: I'm for the Fair Tax or any other system that makes it simple to file. The Social Security Administration could replace the ... Read More


High School Musical

Northgate High brings popular musical to Coweta

Northgate High School (NGHS) plans to bring the popular “High School Musical” to the stage at the Centre for Performing and Visu ... Read More


Mantracker

Annual officer training classes this week

In case anyone is wondering why there are 500 more law enforcement officers than usual in Coweta, this week is the annual Mantracker trainin ... Read More


Lucille’s Lucky Shoes sets record

Lucille Miller, despite battling a terminal illness, finds passion in every aspect of her life, including the fulfilment of her goals. At t ... Read More


reduce, reuse, recycle

Earth Day and ECycling opportunities in Coweta

It’s time for spring cleaning, and in addition to cleaning out the garage and gutters, many Cowetans will be hauling off old TVs, comp ... Read More

Coweta Commission

Lake Redwine request on Tuesday agenda

A decision on a variance request for a new development area at Lake Redwine is on the agenda for Tuesday night’s meeting of the Coweta ... Read More